As final plans are made, the Women of the Wall continue to make a scene at the Kotel each month. Halevi said he finds this offensive.
“It is time for the Women of the Wall to suspend their monthly prayer protests and to give the government time to prove its good faith,” said Halevi.
Frank said she feels similarly. But she understands the women’s side, too. She also noted that she thinks Women of the Wall has gotten a bad rap by some, but she believes in their purity of intention.
“I think there are probably some Women of the Wall who are not going out of purity of intent,” she said. “But I don’t think we should throw them out or consider them irrelevant [in the Orthodox community]. … All people should be able to daven in the way they want to daven, in a way that is comfortable for them.”
At the same time, she cautioned the non-Orthodox community from judging all Haredim who turn out to stop the women from praying, but just those who act inappropriately. Frank said she does not condone violence of any kind, but “I think the whole world needs to understand that these [violent protestors] are a tiny minority.”
Halevi said as we come to Tisha B’Av, the Jewish people should take a step back.
“One of the ironies, perhaps, is that in order to restore some sense of unity to the Wall, we need to pray separately. The Jewish people can’t pray together. This is a spiritual tragedy but an accurate reflection of where we are as a people,” said Halevi.”
Halevi said the next step is action — swift action by the government on the proposed plan.
Until the construction equipment is brought on site and the blueprints formally printed, the JFNA Rabbinic Cabinet, under the oversight of President Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of Potomac, is calling on the people to take a step back and use these days before the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av to bring about greater Jewish unity.
“We share more than what divides us,” said Rabbi Weinblatt in a statement. “We call upon all segments of our community to display ahavat Yisrael, love of the Jewish people in deeds and words. … We pray that the month of Av will bring the blessing of Jewish unity, harmony and peace to our people. … May the message of Tisha B’Av remind us that the antidote to the … destruction of the Temple is shalom bayit, peace in the (Jewish) home.”
Said Rabbi Rabinowitz: “Jewish unity does not come from me telling you, ‘you need to love me.’ It comes from me telling myself, ‘I need to love you.’”
Up To Date
The First and Second Temples
960 B.C.E. King Solomon built the First Temple
586 B.C.E. Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, including the Temple
516 B.C.E. Second Temple built
37 B.C.E. Herod rebuilt or refurbished the Second Temple
70 C.E. Romans destroyed Jerusalem, including the Temple
Who Uses The Temple?
Religious affiliation of Jews in America:
• Orthodox — 10 percent
• Conservative — 26 percent
• Reform — 35 percent
• Just Jewish — 20 percent
• All other — 10 percent
Source: “National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01,” published by United Jewish Committees (now Jewish Federations of North America)
Religious affiliation of Jews in Israel:
• Haredi: 5 percent
• Orthodox: 12 percent
• Traditional: 35 percent
• Nonreligious/secular — 43 percent
• Anti-religious — 5 percent
Source: “A Portrait of Israeli Jewry,” published by the AVI CHAI Foundation and the Guttman Center of the Israel Democracy Institute, 2000
2,000-Year-Old Evidence of the Siege in Jerusalem
Recently, a small cistern belonging to a building was exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting near the Western Wall, in the vicinity of Robinson’s Arch in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. Inside the cistern were three intact cooking pots and a small ceramic oil lamp that date to the time of the Great Revolt, according to a release by the IAA.
The vessels were discovered inside the drainage channel that was exposed in its entirety from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David to the beginning of Robinson’s Arch.
According to excavation director Eli Shukron, “This is the first time we are able to connect archaeological finds with the famine that occurred during the siege of Jerusalem at the time of the Great Revolt. The complete cooking pots and ceramic oil lamp indicate that the people went down into the cistern where they secretly ate the food that was contained in the pots, without anyone seeing them, and this is consistent with the account provided by Josephus.”
In his book “The Jewish War” Josephus describes the Roman siege of Jerusalem and in its wake the dire hunger that prevailed in the blockaded city. In his dramatic description of the famine in Jerusalem he tells about the Jewish rebels who sought food in the homes of their fellow Jews in the city. These, Josephus said, concealed the food they possessed for fear it would be stolen by the rebels, and they ate it in hidden places in their homes.
For more information, visit antiquities.org.il.
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